Rhetoric from both sides of sports betting debate is not tamping down

Leagues’ Latest Angle On Sports Betting: Nevada Is Doing It Wrong

leagues angle on sports betting

Major League Baseball and the NBA have been nothing if not nimble in changing their angles of attack when it comes to attempting to get what they want from US sports betting legalization.

The latest: Nevada sports betting has it all wrong.

From Reuters:

It “makes no sense” that Nevada’s regulations should be implemented elsewhere, said Bryan Seeley, a former federal public corruption prosecutor who heads MLB’s investigations, in an interview. “We should adopt regulations that fit 2018.”

If Nevada sports betting is doing it wrong…

A few days after getting their clocks cleaned in a series of hearings regarding a New Jersey sports betting bill, the leagues were back on the offensive.

Apparently, MLB would have everyone believe that Nevada is the scourge of the scourge of sports betting integrity.

If that’s true, then we’d expect either:

  • A number of sports betting scandals would have emanated from the only US state that had legal single-game wagering before this year; or
  • A number of such scandals have gone unreported or undiscovered.

Of course, either of those scenarios would be potentially devastating if true for US sports leagues. But No. 1 is certainly not true. And No. 2 has no known basis in reality.

That’s not to say there is room for zero improvement…

Nevada regulators have effectively regulated sports betting for decades. To say their regulatory system is the equivalent of hot garbage defies reality.

That being said, it’s not like there’s no way for Nevada to be better. Mobile wagering has grown in the state despite the fact that starting and funding account is far from the easiest process in the world, at least compared to Europe and the New Jersey online casino industry.

And would a more open and stream-lined relationship with the leagues be the worst thing in the world? Not at all, minus, of course, the leagues’ desire for a cut of all wagers — aka integrity fees — and their need to have control over all types of bets and what data is used to resolve them. (And that’s assuming that Nevada regulators and sports league avoid each other already, which also likely has no basis in reality.)

Of course, this kind of relationship doesn’t need to be codified in laws, nor have a financial aspect tied to it. It can be done simply because it makes sense to do so.

No detente on sports betting?

The most interesting thing here is a ramping up of the rhetoric, once again, when it comes to how sports betting is legalized in the US.

There have been rumblings of gaming interests and the leagues trying to work together on the sports betting issue, rather than standing diametrically opposed to what the other wants.

But if the MLB comes out publicly and says the equivalent of “Nevada, you suck,” then it appears we’re not terribly close to compromise.

The leagues have not gotten anything close to what looks like a victory on sports betting policy, unless a New York sports betting law happens in the next ten days. (The legislature there is scheduled to adjourn next week, but the bills there include much of what the leagues want.)

Until then, expect the leagues to throw every argument under the sun at trying to get what they desire in states considering sports betting regulation.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.